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Christmas, The Time For… Family Feuds?

One of the things many people dread about the Christmas season is having to deal with difficult family members and family feuds. 

Though the holidays are a time for families to reunite, with distant relatives seeing each other once again, the experience of dealing with certain family members can be daunting for those with poor relationships within the group. The holidays can definitely cause a lot of stress.

Some people may choose to ignore the problems and carry a smile throughout the celebration, while others may use the holidays as an excuse to start an argument.  This unpredictable behavior makes many people nervous and edgy during holiday family gatherings.

If you are tense about dealing with challenging family members during the upcoming holidays, here are some tips to get you through without the usual anxiety.

Ways to Avoid Family Feuds

Prepare Ahead of Time

To properly deal with argumentative or difficult family members, you have to mentally prepare yourself ahead of time. 

Do not just throw yourself into the lion’s den on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Instead, think ahead about how you will behave towards those members of the family with whom you do not typically get along well. 

Also, consider what types of conversations you will be comfortable having, how you will respond to questions about yourself and your life, and how much you are willing to tolerate.

Have an exit strategy ready so that you have an excuse to get out of there if things get too much for you to handle. 

For example, if you are married, you can say you have plans to catch dessert at your in-laws’ house, and this is the perfect way to leave after dinner is over, cutting the time you need to spend in an uncomfortable situation short.

Accept Yourself and Your Family As They Are

Another way of avoiding family feuds is that you need to learn to accept yourself as you are, regardless of what your family may think of you or have to say to you about how you are living your life, what your job is, how you decide to dress, etc. 

And in the same way, you need to accept your family members for who they are.  Have an open mind, practice patience, and begin to accept people for their positive attributes and flaws. 

This will make it so much easier to deal with difficult family members during your holiday gatherings.

If you know certain family members have irritating qualities, do not be surprised that you are irritated by them when they are in your presence. 

But if you can accept those qualities as part of their unique personalities, you can take them for who they are and nothing more.  Relationships are said to be mirrors of ourselves. 

Some of the annoying things you recognize and dislike about others may be traits that you, yourself, have and that you try to not recognize in yourself. 

Reflect upon who you are and why certain people in your family rub you the wrong way. 

Then, take a step back and realize that everyone is equal and everyone deserves love.  This perspective should allow you to approach a holiday gathering more positively.

Avoid Conflicts to Avoid Family Feuds

One of the most uncomfortable situations at a holiday gathering is an argument between two relatives with a history of not getting along. And a surefire way of family feuds developing.

You may very well be one of those who always end up in a verbal fight with a family member.  Avoid such conflicts by simply avoiding those relatives. 

Say hello cordially and perhaps make some small talk, but leave it at that. 

Stay on opposite ends of the room, if necessary.  If you know that others in the family do not get along, you may help them keep their distance from one another to help stave off a conflict.

Secret Santa

An easy way to exchange gifts amongst feuding family members is through a grab bag or by following a Secret Santa system. 

Secret Santa ideas are easy to come up with, whether you are shopping for a niece or a grandmother, and this form of indiscriminate gift-giving ensures everyone gets something they will enjoy. 

Or, a White Elephant gift exchange is a fun way to bring everyone together. It’s definitely good for some laughs.

Plus you never know, if you really do take the time to choose a gift for someone that you don’t usually get along with and they really love it (and find out who bought it for them) you may just end up becoming the best of friends by the end of the Christmas period – it has happened before!

By planning in advance for the holidays, whether by drawing up a list of secret Santa ideas or coming up with the perfect exit strategy, you will surely have a much better time on Christmas day itself.

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